And if you manage to get through your Saturn return in one piece, here are your rewards.
The Gifts of Saturn
But before we get onto the gifts of Saturn, there’s another way of dodging the responsibilities imposed by this planet. You blame it on your astrological chart! “It’s because I’m a Pisces,” “It’s because I’m having a Pluto transit,” – whatever.
Now listen very carefully, I shall say this only once. You are not constrained by your birth chart. It is merely the starting point. You can grow beyond it – but not if you use it as an excuse for being a schmuck. Astrology can help you understand your reactions, your mood swings, your unconscious habits etc. But the point is to become aware of them so that you have conscious choice in your behaviour and your actions.
(There’s a great article dealing with free will in astrology by master Astrologer, Dane Rudhyar here:
So, assuming that you didn’t dodge your responsibilities during your Saturn return (or other major Saturn transit) you should be functioning a lot better in the real world.
You’re free of fears that have held you back, because you’ve looked at them, done something about them. Whether those fears have manifested as a pile of unpaid bills, or a layer of abdominal fat, or a relationship that you can’t leave ‘because…’ Saturn is there to challenge you to grasp the nettle.
And when you make that step, Saturn becomes an ally rather than a burden. You have a better handle on what’s real and what isn’t. There are things that you just won’t do again ‘cos you know where that type of relationship will lead you, or that type of living arrangement, that type of business deal or that type of job. Nobody could have taught you that. You had to go through it. That’s Saturn.
You can think of Saturn as a gatekeeper if you like. Once you’ve made your deal with him, he is a powerful ally and he will introduce you to his friends. The outer planets: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
Now these guys get a bad press as well. According to the astrology books, Uranus disrupts, Neptune deludes and Pluto is a bully. To put it more gently, they force change through crisis.
But once you’ve got Saturn on your side, it becomes possible to work with energies of the outer planets – to use them rather than be used by them.
So, let’s start with the gift of the planet Uranus. With Uranus you are free of the fear of what other people think of you. You don’t have to be the same as everyone else. You can be yourself regardless of the norms and values of society. We’re not talking about going out of the way to shock other people (pace Lady Gaga who gets paid for it), we’re talking about the mind of the inventor, the time-traveller, the original thinker.
In Jungian terms, Uranus represents the individual, the person who is individuated, who has owned their shadow side, who has become whole. The woman who has found her masculine self, the man who has found his feminine self. Saturn helps you get handle on things to keep it real.
The second gift is the gift of the planet Neptune. Without Saturn, Neptune is the dreamer, the fantasist, in extreme cases delusional. Also, the fashion victim, the one to whom image is everything, even the person obsessed with their body image. Another pattern is the sensitive soul, overwhelmed by the pain of the world who seeks the anaesthetic of television, and doesn’t know how to switch off save by alcohol or if that doesn’t work, something stronger…
With Saturn, Neptune is the visionary, the one who inspires with a poem or a song, whose music goes to a place beyond thought. Saturn helps Neptune come back from the cosmic journey. To return to earth after the gig without recourse to downers. To create reality through the strength of belief and visualisation. To make dreams real. As T.E. Lawrence says in the Seven Pillars of Wisdom,
“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.”
The third gift comes from Pluto. It is the gift of power. Not power in the sense of ‘power over other people’ but in the sense of ability (pouvoir in French, poder in Spanish). Pluto without Saturn gives its power away too easily. We see ourselves as weak and them as strong. Which is what ‘they’ want of course. We give them power over us. We accept our victimhood too readily.
Some retake their power by stepping outside the law in a destructive and underhand way. Pluto’s power without the responsibility of Saturn creates the psychopath, the criminal.
With Saturn, Pluto demands that we realise our own power. We can see society’s taboos for what they really are: illusory control mechanisms. Then we have a choice. We can accept them and work within them to assert our will, to use our abilities to effect change. Or we can take the risks and accept the consequences.
What Saturn gives us is control. Without Saturn’s control, the energies of the outer planets can be wild, unreal, destructive. Saturn is the gatekeeper that gives us the ability to switch in and out of these energies, to use them rather than be used by them. To be aware of the tides of the mass movements and to decide whether to go with them or not.
To become conscious means to have choice. To have choice is to be free. That’s the deal. Saturn’s deal.